Sarkozy to visit Rwanda

24 February 2010 by -

French president Nicholas Sarkozy will arrive in Rwanda tomorrow, marking the first visit by a French leader since the 1994 genocide.

Tensions between the two countries peaked in 2006. Rwanda broke off diplomatic ties after a French judge issued arrest warrants against nine close associates of Rwandan president Paul Kagame. In 2008, Rwanda accused France of complicity in the genocide, naming 33 political and military officials it said should be put on trial.

French president Nicholas Sarkozy will arrive in Rwanda tomorrow, marking the first visit by a French leader since the 1994 genocide.

Tensions between the two countries peaked in 2006. Rwanda broke off diplomatic ties after a French judge issued arrest warrants against nine close associates of Rwandan president Paul Kagame. In 2008, Rwanda accused France of complicity in the genocide, naming 33 political and military officials it said should be put on trial.

As relations improve, Kigali is expected to push the French judiciary to extradite suspected génocidaires living in France to Rwanda. So far French authorities have refused, saying that they could not be guaranteed a fair trial in Rwanda.

The day before Sarkozy’s visit was announced, however, Sostene Munyemana, a Rwandan living in France, was arrested on suspicion of genocide. “I am not at all surprised that this is happening now,” Munyemana told the AFP. “Diplomatic relations have been restored…so the circumstances were favourable for this.”

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